The GIG Model

Group-Individual-Group (GIG) Learning

Cooperative and collaborative learning has been proven as an effective pedagogy throughout the chemistry curriculum. A variant of traditional collaborative learning has been developed that emphasizes the importance of the group aspect, as well as an individual component. Students complete a group activity during section, and are tasked with completing an individual assignment following section. The individual assignment will be discussed during the next class meeting as a group. The completion and subsequent discussion of the individual assignment is designed to be paramount in the learning process. The individual assignments largely draw upon problem solving and critical thinking skills developed during the group assignment with the goal of the individual assignments being to further refine and solidify problem solving and critical thinking skills.

For the collaborative aspect, we use a large group setting staffed by multiple TAs. Figure 1 below defines the structure for the section. A group of 60 students will be divided into smaller workstations consisting of 15 students with one assigned TA. The course instructor is present during the entire section and facilitates by introducing the group activity, interfacing with the TAs during the activity, providing discussion during the section if needed, and concluding the assignment. The instructor’s goal during the activity is to pinpoint key areas that need further discussion and refinement and implement just in time teaching with targeted discussions as needed. The group activities are completed during an 80 minute section with the individual assignment being posted afterward.

Each workstation will have:
Figure 1: Organization of the Group Activity.
  • 6 groups of 3 students per group
  • Graduate or undergraduate teaching assistant
  • Whiteboard/Smartboard for discussion among the individual workstation groups.

The instructor will provide an overview of the case study and conclude the discussion. Additionally, the instructor will circulate to assess progress and provide class instruction to all students as needed.







o further elaborate on the structure, we are aiming to establish a hierarchy of learning in which the group activities promote co-instruction, self instruction, and other-directed learning. The teaching assignments provide the next level of support with providing additional guidance and instruction, and the instructor provides the highest level of teaching. Figure 2 illustrates this model.

Figure 2: The Triangle Hierarchy of Instruction.

The dominant form of instruction would start with student guided instruction facilitated by TA’s as needed and minimum professor instruction. The professor would provide guidance to all workstations at the start and end of the section, as well as breakout sessions and clarifications needed for continuing the activity.

During the follow up group section, after the completing the individual assignment, students are instructed to discuss their findings on the individual assignment, and reflective activities are implemented to have student identify their stronger and weaker areas. The goal of the final group session is to provide an opportunity for students to self assess their understanding, and identify areas they need to improve. Guidance regarding the reflection is provided.



Charlie Cox

EMAIL: ctcox [at]